Renault has been struggling to revive the Alpine brand for quite a number of years now. At first, the French teamed up with Caterham in a joint-venture that would have enabled both companies to build their very own sports cars using the same underpinnings. However, the collaboration didn’t last very long, as disagreements on the development of the sports cars caused significant delays. As a result, in June 2014 it was announced that each company will build its own sports car. Moving forward, Renault acquired full ownership of Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham and dropped "Caterham" from the official company name, claiming the company has "made some good progress" on its own.

While things have been rather quiet on the Apine front the past three months, an unnamed Renault spokesman has been quoted saying that the sports car is on schedule for a 2017 release, thus confirming earlier reports about its debut in 2016. The automaker is "on track to deliver the model to customers in about two years," the unnamed spokesperson told Automotive News Europe.

Given the timetable, I’m tempted to believe the Alpine sports car will show itself to the world at the 2016 Paris Motor Show before hiting the road in 2017.

Once the first Alpine in decades reaches dealerships, the French manufacturer hopes to sell around 3,000 examples a year, Alpine head Bernard Ollivier told Reuters in an interview. "In terms of scale, on average [annual production] volume will be about 3,000 cars, with a peak of 5,000 initially due to the novelty factor," he said.

Needless to say, that’s mighty optimistic of Alpine, a brand that’s far from being of the mainstream variety. Sure, there are quite a few Alpine enthusiasts getting excited about the thought of the company’s first product in decades – myself included — but very few will actually fork Alfa Romeo 4C-like money to take one home. Alpine will probably have to settle selling some 500 examples a year.

Click past the jump to read more about Renault-Alpine’s future supercar.

Why it matters

This isn’t the first time that the French have confirmed the Alpine sports car will arrive sometime in 2016, as it said the same thing back in 2014. However, Ollivier’s statement about annual output is yet another strong hint that the first Alpine in decades is indeed well underway, with Renault already designing a marketing strategy for the A110’s spiritual successor.

All seems well right now, although Renault should stop daydreaming about turning Alpine into a mainstream brand. A marque mostly known by European enthusiasts who are into their 30s and 40s can’t match the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG or the Lamborghini Huracan in terms of annual sales.

Alpine GT6 Vision GT Sports Car

2015 Alpine GT6 Vision GT Sports Car Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Source: Automotive News

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